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» Featured Columnists | By Scott Kauffman | October 2, 2009 8:00 AM ET

Private Equity Residence Club Ownerships Now Available near Lake Toxaway
(LAKE TOXAWAY, NC) -- A new private equity residence club is going to market near luxurious Lake Toxaway in the North Carolina Mountains. Called Catatoga, the new 308-acre resort is offering deeded one-eighth ownership interests in either a single-family residence on a private wooded home site or the Lake Lodge overlooking 22-acre Lake Catatoga.

Both properties include full access to Catatoga Club's extensive amenities, including two miles of private trout fishing - with one mile designated as trophy brook trout water. 

The single-family residence option gives owners a beautifully and fully furnished 3-bedroom,  3 ½- bath home for just $125,000, while the Lake Lodge offers owners a 6-bedroom, 6-bathroom fully furnished lakefront lodge for $350,000.  The Residence Club at Catatoga offers unlimited, flexible use to owners all four seasons of the year (subject only to the club's reservation policy and availability).
"The Residence Club at Catatoga allows buyers seeking a world-class mountain getaway the opportunity for home ownership at reasonable prices without the concern and complications of constant maintenance and upkeep," says Steve Schneider, Merrill Trust Group's Director of Sales and Marketing.  "At Catatoga the club staff takes care of all your needs, including daily cleaning and housekeeping, concierge services, and maintenance.  It's an ideal vacation home solution."
Catatoga is the perfect location for anyone seeking a serene getaway.  In addition to its private lake and trout stream, the gated community is also close to fishing streams and extensive hiking opportunities in the surrounding Pisgah National Forest and Gorges State Park, which border Catatoga on the south and west.
Nestled among stately hardwood and pine-covered mountains on a high plateau, Catatoga has two  private waterfalls, a clubhouse with outdoor swimming pool, tennis courts, Jacuzzi, steam room, sauna, fitness center, game room, bar and lounge, boathouse and dock, and miles of secluded hiking trails.   The Outpost cabin, featuring a general store, outfitters shop and Day Spa - is expected to open this fall.
There are also completed and fully furnished homes available at Catatoga, as well as home sites located in private wooded settings, some with lake and long-range views.  Prices for fully furnished homes start at $595,000, and home sites are available for as little as $85,000.  A limited number of Catatoga Club non-resident memberships are also available.
Merrill Trust Group, LLC, is a developer of private clubs and resort communities throughout the southeast.  Besides Catatoga, other Merrill Trust communities are: Foxhall Resort and Sporting Club, the nation's first urban residential resort and sporting club in Atlanta, Georgia; Sky Valley Resort and Country Club, the highest elevation community in Georgia; and Daytona Beach Resort and Conference Center, an oceanfront resort in Ormond Beach, Florida. 

Historic Greensboro Country Club on Track to Complete Farm Course Renovation

(GREENSBORO, NC) - The $6 million transformation of The Farm Course at Greensboro Country Club is nearing completion with a grand opening set for May 2010.

As part of an introduction to the new layout, members and their guests will have an opportunity to play the new layout this November, weather-permitting. The Farm Course now features 388 additional yards, elevated tees, redesigned holes, diverse landscapes, earthworks and the introduction of more dramatic lake views and additional water hazards. A major addition is the use of zoysiagrass, a unique surface used in only one of the current PGA Tour's courses but one that draws high praise from professionals.
"When it officially reopens next May, this will be one of the finest courses in our region," says Club president Davy Davidson.  "It will offer challenging play to golfers of all abilities. The aesthetics and natural beauty of the course are outstanding. Our goal is to give our club and its two locations, downtown and on the city's perimeter, the best combination of club facilities in the Carolinas and, with the new course, raise our status both regionally and nationally.

"I am proud of the confidence shown by our membership and the board of directors in this undertaking, even when it was tempting after the global economic meltdown to take the 'safer' route of delaying or even canceling the renovation. The new Farm Course will be a key part of what Greensboro Country Club is today, and it will serve our members well for many generations to come."           

The course marries the best of modern-day and traditional golf -- combining the vision and design skills of two great architects: Ellis Maples and Donald Steel. It is one of the few that provides a completely new fresh challenge that counters the advances made by golf equipment manufacturers that has marginalized many old courses.

"Such has been the scale of the transformation at The Farm Course that members may not recognize it," says Donald Steel, the course designer and legendary British golf architect. "It introduces a spectacular fresh dimension, both visually and from a playing point of view. The course can withstand the cruise missiles that pass for modern equipment. What impressed me was the spare land they had that they didn't use - the old practice ground included. This is almost unheard of on an established course."
The new design of The Farm Course lengthens it from the current par-71 6,914 yards to a 7,302 yards par-72 layout with five new and reshaped holes being the centerpiece. The entire 18 holes have been revamped with new tee areas, green complexes and adjustments to the fairway approaches to the greens.

The Farm Course is part of The Greensboro Country Club's $11 million investment to take club lifestyle to a higher level of excellence. Already a leader in North Carolina, the Club aims to make the facilities it offers to its members the ultimate family value as it celebrates its 100th anniversary.

In addition to golf, the Club offers tennis, swimming, fitness, casual and fine dining, meeting rooms and, in the case of Irving Park, a ballroom capable of accommodating 400 people.

The location of the course is close to the site of the Battle of Guilford Courthouse where English General Cornwallis won the battle but eventually lost the war, thanks to the efforts of the Colonial militia under the command of General Nathaniel Greene, whose continued harassment moved the British troops to Yorktown and eventual surrender.

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